WTO Talks Collapse In Cancun

September 2, 2003

September 14, 2003, Cancun, Mexico ? The European Union and the United States drove the World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks here to collapse as they refused to give any concesssions to a bloc of developing countries. Agreement could not be reached on proposals from Europe, Japan and others to expand the WTO and bring in new negotiations to liberalise investment, competition, government procurement and trade facilitation (known as the 'new issues').

Friends of the Earth said that developing countries' rejection of the 'new issues' demonstrated the resolve of poor nations to stand up to the rich countries and their multinational corporations who were lobbying for greater access to developing countries' markets.

?No deal is better than a bad deal. Despite intense pressure from the business lobbies and bullying by the European Union and the US, developing countries have stood their ground. This is a great development for people, small businesses and the protection of the environment," Friends of the Earth International Trade Coordinator Ronnie Hall.

The WTO is finally seen for what it is: an institution with no legitimacy, working to promote corporate interests. Friends of the Earth believes, along with our civil society friends across the world, that now we can start again, looking for ways to develop truly fair and sustainable economies,? she added.